I have an old Android TV box (the ZaapTV 509N) that is useless. It was advertised as a $300 subscription-free streaming service for Arabic channels from overseas, but every 3 years they would force a $300 hardware upgrade on you, and now that they've run out of new upgrades, you need a subscription to continue using the device with their service.

The device is running their custom Android ROM on it (4.2.2), and it is pretty locked down. You cannot add a Google account to use the marketplace to install useful apps like YouTube or Netflix. I've been looking at what other custom ROMs I could flash on it to regain control of my device, just installing YouTube and Netflix on it would make this device useful again. I've found 3 candidate ROMs for this, from similar streaming devices with very similar hardware.

I've flashed phones before (ported ROM from a different letter iteration of the same model or straight out CyanogenMod), and all these needed me to connect the Android device to a laptop. With the ZaapTV, the only USB ports are female, so I would need a male A to male A USB cable to connect to a laptop. The only male to male USB cables I have are micro at one end and regular size at the other.

So, I could connect an Android phone to the ZaapTV device. If I move the required ROM to my phone's storage, is it feasible to use my phone instead of a laptop to flash the ZaapTV? Is there an app or a flash utility that is available to do what ODIN and ADB are doing on the laptop?

I do have access to the recovery menu on the ZaapTV. I also have a Raspberry Pi (running Raspbian, a port of Debian). It has an OTG micro-USB. Could that work?

  • @beeshyams Mobile Odin can only flash the device it is being run on, only supports Samsung, and I can't install apps on the Zaap (which is why I need to flash something on it).
    – tlhIngan
    Commented Feb 5, 2018 at 4:09
  • Indeed yes. There is an app that can be used for Linux . I don't know if it helps in your context
    – beeshyams
    Commented Feb 5, 2018 at 4:16
  • @beeshyams DriveDroid uses your phone as a USB booting device. ZaapTV can't boot from USB.
    – tlhIngan
    Commented Feb 5, 2018 at 4:20
  • @tlhIngan You can try putting a regular Linux distro and see if it accepts the TV box as a peripheral device. Works in theory.
    – harpratap
    Commented Feb 5, 2018 at 4:27
  • @harpratap I'll keep that in mind. Plan A is to use a BeagleBoneBlack as a USB host. Raspberry Pi is a no-go, the micro-USB is what powers the device, and it needs too much juice to be used as a peripheral at the same time.
    – tlhIngan
    Commented Feb 5, 2018 at 5:04


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